I can’t keep quiet any longer. Like Jose said, “Opinions are like assholes and everybody has one,” so I’m finally going to throw in my two cents. I tried to avoid it, but the topic has been front and center everywhere I turn. It’s on television and social media. I guess what finally threw me over the edge was this:
I am, of course, talking about Brittany Maynard.
I’ve read hundreds of comments about her. (Whatever, I have a lot of time on my hands.) It seems everyone is passionate about their opinion and everyone is convinced their opinion is the right one. I’ve seen her called brave and a coward, I’ve seen her called a hero and a quitter.
As with any controversial topic, you’re going to see heated debate, one that inevitably includes religion. And what what would a controversial topic be without the deity of your choice waltzing in wearing a flashing neon sign? (hashtag Ecclesiastes 7:17)
Oh yeah, don’t forget politics! You can’t have a discussion (especially on Election Day) without politics entering the picture. Did you know that there are three states in the union that have “Death With Dignity” Laws? I didn’t either. They are Oregon, Washington, and Vermont. All three of them are blue states.
“Remember to vote Democrat today! If it weren’t for them, Brittany wouldn’t have been able to CHOOSE death with dignity!”
“Make sure you vote Republican today! They would NEVER allow a doctor to murder!”
Holy crap! I guess it’s all about perspective. Out of all the comments I’ve read, I think I like this one the most:
What do you think? Until you have walked the shoes of a person facing this, are you really entitled to your opinion? Do I have the right to state my own opinion knowing the road I’m facing with my tumors? Sure, my situation is different. I am not physically suffering. I’ve had a few terrible, nearly unbearable bouts. When it gets bad, I can usually hide the pain, pretend I’m okay. I’m a lover of life with a smile on my face, but the pain I suffer from is emotional, rarely physical. I just want these tumors out of me. I want my life back. No matter how happy I may seem, I always have thoughts of this ugliness in the back of my head (pun intended.) I want to be normal. I want to be healthy. I want to not have to face this ever again. Sure, if you are breathing, you are dying. We all know we can’t beat death, but we don’t know when our time will come, well, some of us have an idea. Brittany knew how long she had. I have an idea of how much time I have left. It changes your perspective, I assure you.
The vast majority of the comments I’ve read go something like this:
“My (insert family member or loved one) is currently/has recently suffered from (insert debilitating disease here.) It pains me to watch/have watched them suffer from this terrible illness. While I don’t personally experience this, seeing this person in my life go through this makes me qualified to pass judgment on Brittany. I think she is a coward/hero for the choices she made and she should/shouldn’t be influencing others to do the same.”
I think the common denominator we should all be focusing on is that fact that nearly every single person has been impacted in some way by a deadly disease. Whether they themselves are diagnosed or their loved one. In the end, someone suffers, someone dies. Shouldn’t we be focusing all of our energy where it really belongs?
I started my blog with a quote from Jose and I’ll end it with a quote from Jose:
“Want to ‘pray’ for someone, want to be mad at someone? Want to call people dirty names? Try the government agencies and the pharmaceutical companies and the lobbyists who hold up research and shoot down the alternative drugs and procedures that could heal some of these people, and have a little damn compassion…”
Well said my love, well said.